Think of all your favourite desserts. Got one? Or possibly more than one? Perhaps you have an intense sweet tooth and have an endless list of guilty pleasures, or you may just prefer to stick to your one sacred sugary treat once in a while.
In any case, these self-taught bakers are exploding all over social media, and they will most certainly do everything in their power to cater to your deepest and darkest sugary fantasies.
They are taking your favourite chocolates and treats, draping them all over the largest and most eye-catching decadent cakes, pushing your sugary cravings to a whole new level. Each cake is forcing you to find any occasion that requires a huge celebration, just to get your taste buds one step closer to these artistic and drool-worthy creations.
You will find yourself checking your calendar, trying to work out which family member has the closest birthday so you can find any excuse to indulge too.
You will also most likely be “screen grabbing” every social media post they decide to grace us with, sending it to almost every contact in your phone as a public service announcement: “Hint, my birthday is on May 3rd and I want, no, I need this cake!”
Arlinda Bala, is a 24-year-old baker who used her social media platforms to turn her passion for the art of baking into a very successful online business.
Under the name of “eatwitharli” she used her love for cooking and baking as the perfect opportunity to start a food blog. Posting restaurant reviews, home-made recipes, and pictures of her decadent, out of this world cakes.
Initially, Arlinda’s success began with frequently posting pictures of her insanely mouth-watering creations on all of her social media accounts.It was only when Arlinda’s creations received a significant amount of attention through her social media that she realised she could successfully create her own brand, and happily exercise her passion for baking.
“My passion for baking began when I was a young girl, my Mum used to work in a bakery back in Albania so I’d always see her making traditional cakes and treats,” she told us.
Using Twitter and Instagram, she graced the social media world with pictures of her cakes, cookies and even savoury meals, attracting attention from fanatic foodies all over the world.
Arlinda told Artefact of the importance of a social media following when starting your own business and keeping a face behind a brand in order to add a personal touch: “Putting out content constantly helped. I live by the saying “you are your brand” so I didn’t have to take any specific steps, just doing things naturally.”
Arlinda tried to keep her online content natural and her relationship with her followers honest and real. By doing this she created a loyal following of food lovers everywhere who would refresh her page in anticipation, impatiently waiting for the next creation.
An essential step in personalising your brand online is to keep a face behind your work, interact with followers and reward their loyalty as this will result in loyal customers who truly care for the future of your business.“I strongly believe to keep people interested and intrigued you have to show who the person behind the cake is, so to speak. I’ve found that people like knowing who you are as a person, what you look like, your opinions on topics. For example, my Instagram is filled with pictures of me, holidays I’ve been on as well as my cakes and bakes.”
This personal touch meant that Arlinda’s business had all the essential qualities that enabled her to gain life-long customers.
Since giving her followers the option to order her cakes, Arlinda has sold 600 different types of cakes and treats through her social media portals. Using Instagram, Twitter, and her business email to open a dialogue with her followers.
Arlinda told Artefact that loving what you do will make your business journey so much easier, as people will notice when you have a great passion for something, and when you put an incredible amount of effort into your work it is very apparent.
“It’s my biggest creative outlet, making cakes is, to me, an art form. I’m able to express myself through my designs. I love trying new things and experimenting, so yeah, I’d say cake making is a great way to express my creative side.”
Since selling her cakes, Arlinda has also used her social media to keep her followers up to date with her latest creations, sometimes receiving outrageous and new orders from customers, allowing her to creatively explore these requests.
“My most popular order varies. When I first started it was the Ferrero Rocher cake. Recently it’s become my chocolate caramel Hennessy cake. A lot of people like customising their own cakes which is fun for me! My favourite to make is the tiramisu cake!”
To top it off, Arlinda will hand deliver your cake to whichever location you suggest, cradling it and making sure it is in perfect condition for your event.
The incredible service and dedication to her followers are the qualities which keep her customers coming back, dying for another taste.One of the biggest fears people have when thinking of starting their own businesses is the lack of customers, funding, and perhaps the fear that it just will not work out and they may end up in a mess of debt.
In recent years, social media has opened the doorway for more advanced e-commerce businesses and has allowed them to thrive in ways they may not have had the opportunity to do so in the past.
Existing businesses have also accepted and understood the importance of social media and the online relationship between consumers.
Clothing stores have created online websites for shopping, and more recently YouTube has allowed people to create a comfortable living from of their online video content. Advertisers also thrive, as they are able to launch brands online and work with influencers and entrepreneurs that are able to run businesses from the comfort of their own homes.
Shadi is the 21-year-old creative mastermind behind Drip Bakery, a cake business she also started up using her social media platforms.Using her Twitter and Instagram, Shadi shared her passion for food and her own journey of teaching herself how to bake.
During the early stages of her social media presence, Shadi made sure to constantly keep a dialogue open between herself and her supportive following, whilst drawing attention to her cakes with her large and ‘out there’ designs, making all of her followers drool in sync.
“I started off by just posting pictures of the cakes I would bake and my followers were always so supportive and complimentary of my work. Twitter really played and still plays a big part in the growth of my brand.”
The name Drip Bakery comes from the ‘drip’ style of her cakes, which most of her followers appreciated and recognised. Shadi explained to Artefact about her supportive followers, and how they recommended, or rather begged her to start selling her cakes. She said the attention she received was incredible, and everybody wanted a taste.
By keeping a consistent level of content, Shadi created a larger following and allowed herself to continue improving her own skills whilst catering to the needs of her customers also.
“Some customers provide me with the creative freedom to make their cakes however I want, which I love, that’s when the outcome is pretty much improvised. Other customers may know exactly what they want and how they want it which requires more planning for me to cater to their taste.”Although Shadi felt pressured to find a typical graduate job after completing her degree, she now bakes full time and manages to support herself financially by doing what she loves. Dedicating herself completely to her passion allowed Shadi to focus on her brand and her own skills as a baker.
“The most exciting part is that I get to do what I love every day and I also get to improve and work on my talent. Being able to make someone happy by providing them with a custom made cake is also so exciting and rewarding.”
Social media is giving many passionate artists, writers and creatives the opportunity to advertise and showcase their work. By doing so, they are able to turn their passions into businesses and give themselves opportunities that may have been near enough impossible without the internet.
The internet age has also allowed companies to further develop their consumer palette, as they can reach wider audiences, ship goods to your doorstep, and open the door for an entirely new market of income.
The rise of e-commerce (the term used for transactions taken online or income taken from online platforms) has given entrepreneurs the chance to further their ideas and reach a new audience.
This new way of making money is also seen as an opportunity for individuals with unique business ideas who have not been able to receive funding, and therefore cannot execute their dreams.
The Expert Business site also makes it clear that online transactions benefit companies financially more than regular face-to-face transactions.
“There are various factors that can be attributed to the rise of e-commerce. For starters, lack of online taxation has led to the rise of e-commerce in a big way. Many products and services sold online are not taxed. To this effect, growth is not financially impaired,” they said.
With the rise of social media, YouTube ad revenue, and many other online platforms, it is giving young creatives the chance to take a giant leap and take their creativity into their own hands.
Creating a social media following and starting a business online can also lead to larger opportunities in the business world. In this case, we can only hope that bakeries with these mouthwatering cakes appear on our street corners.
Featured image by Arlinda Bala